Phylogenetic relationships of phylum Rotifera with emphasis on the families of Bdelloidea
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We investigated phylogenetic relationships of phylum Rotifera using cladistic analysis to uncover all most-parsimonious trees from a data set comprising 60 morphological characters of nine taxa: one Acanthocephala, six Rotifera, and two outgroups (Turbellaria, Gnathostomulida). Analysis of our matrix yielded a single most-parsimonious tree. From our analysis we conclude the following: (1) Class Digononta is paraphyletic; (2) it is still premature to reject rotiferan monophyly; (3) the classification hierarchy that best conforms to this morphologically based, cladistic analysis is similar to several traditional schemes. In spite of these results, it is significant that this analysis yielded a tree that is incongruent with those trees developed from molecular data or by using the principles of evolutionary taxonomy.
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